A decade ago, Ford Motor was fighting to remain solvent amid a financial crisis that bankrupted two of its crosstown rivals.
Incoming Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley says Ford faces a similar sense of urgency today to fix a sputtering business plagued by high warranty costs and launch issues.
Speaking Wednesday at a Wolfe Research automotive conference in New York, Farley said his priorities in the new role he takes on March 1 include connectivity, Ford's commercial-vehicles business and opportunities with electric and autonomous vehicles.
With Ford's stock trading at a 10-year low, Farley said the company has to "reawaken the purpose of our work" and "accelerate the sense of urgency" among its leaders.
"The only way to change the sense of urgency is to change the way you work," Farley said. "More agile, all-in, together."
Farley listed four key areas Ford needs to improve: warranty costs, which he said hit $5 billion last year; launch performance; material, logistics and labor costs; and sales and marketing.
The automaker will have ample opportunity this year with the introduction of high-volume products including a redesigned F-150, the Bronco SUV, the Bronco Sport crossover and the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.
"We're at the moment in time at Ford where delivery matters," Farley said. "It is execution. I can't handicap that right now because it's something you have to just go do."
Aside from the new products, Farley said one of his priorities is continuing Ford's quest to add connected modems in all of its vehicles. Connectivity, he said, could lead to new profit streams and business opportunities, especially with commercial vehicles.
In Europe, Ford's truck and van sales rose 21 percent last year. Its U.S. fleet truck and van sales jumped 33 percent.
The automaker has implemented telematics services for fleet businesses that helps owners better maintain their vehicles, but Farley sees room for growth.
"For me, this is the signature execution opportunity for Ford, and growth opportunity for Ford, in the coming years," he said.
Farley also stressed the need for Ford to hire new, tech-focused talent to think and work in new ways, similar to what its Team Edison did in quickly developing the Mach-E under a condensed time frame.
"Software's a different business," he said. "We have some great people at Ford, but we need more dedicated teams like Team Edison. I think that will change the culture."